2 May 2013
Ogier retains Rally Argentina lead
Sebastien Ogier completes SS3 with a 3.6 second advantage over Mikko Hirvonen; Sebastien Loeb is third ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Ostberg; Dani Sordo went off and lost over 7 minutes...
Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Rally Argentina following the opening two stages this morning - although he felt he had been unfairly held up by Dani Sordo in SS3.
Ogier, who was quickest in SS1 on Wednesday afternoon, completed the first test of the day in 18 minutes 20.1 seconds, 5 seconds up on team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, to extend his overnight advantage to 8.8 seconds.
The Frenchman then had to settle for third though in the next test - the 51.88 km Citroen Ascochinga/Agua de Oro stage - and at the finish he hit out at Sordo. The Spaniard had rolled in SS3, and lost over 7 minutes after breaking the power steering on his DS3 WRC, dropping him from 7th overall to 15th.
“Yeah, that was a nice strategy there [by Citroen], to block us in the stage,” Ogier told the official WRC site.
Mikko Hirvonen meanwhile topped the times in that stage, 2 seconds up on Sebastien Loeb, and 6.7 seconds up on Ogier. The Finn moved up to second overall in his Citroen as a result - 3.6 seconds off P1. Loeb's second best time was also enough to move him up to third, with Latvala dropping down to fourth.
Mads Ostberg rounds out the top five for the Qatar M-Sport WRT, 9.7 seconds back, followed by VW third driver, Andreas Mikkelsen and then team-mate, Evgeny Novikov.
"This morning hasn't been perfect, but at least we are through. I've really been struggling to find the right feeling with the car and I have to drive differently to what I'm used to," Ostberg said. "It feels like we're missing power. The handling is good and everything else is working well, so I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's the altitude, but it didn't feel like this in Mexico. The surface is very different here so maybe it's a combination of things. Either way it doesn't feel quite right so we'll have to work on that.
"We were fastest on the downhill sections so that is a positive. We'll try and build on that over the second loop, but it will be really rough as there were already quite a lot of stones on the first pass."
“It was definitely not a bad choice for me to be running first on the road today," added Novikov. "We were able to choose our own lines and there weren't any stones on the stages which meant we could cut where we wanted without taking any big risks.
“I'm sure the stages will be a lot rougher this afternoon, we'll just have to wait and see. There are a lot of kilometres still to run, so we'll see what happens.”
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